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The Basics of Purchasing Land in Kenya with AMMLAW. Part 1.


Buying property in Kenya is not rocket science. However, there are common pitfalls people fall into and we always recommend that you consult the services of a reputable agent or advocate to receive appropriate legal advice and representation throughout the sales process.

The two main forms of property tenure in Kenya are freehold and leasehold interests. For evidence of ownership, a Certificate of Title or Title Deed is issued for freehold properties while a Certificate of Lease is issued for leasehold properties. Other requirements will flow from these 2 basic forms of ownership.

Foreigners are permitted to buy commercial and residential properties/land located within a town or municipality without any restrictions if they comply with the laid down procedures. The main restrictions to foreigners pertain to owning agricultural land, freehold titles and first row beach plots along the Kenyan Coast.

The standard transaction period for the sale of a property in Kenya is 90 days effective from the date of signing the Sale Agreement through to completion. Parties can however agree to vary this period. The purchaser begins with identifying a suitable property for purchase. The seller’s lawyer then prepares the Letter of Offer and Sale Agreement.

One needs to enlist the services of a reputable real estate agent to assist them in identifying a suitable property. The buyer should endeavor to visit the site and satisfy themselves that it meets the desired criteria including its physical location and boundaries. Depending on the area, it may be important to engage a surveyor to establish the beacons.

As a word of caution, unless the seller is known to you, it is important to avoid making direct payments to the vendor or their agent, before conducting a through due diligence on the property being sold. If you must, and to demonstrate commitment for the purchase, it is recommended that you remit the payments through your chosen advocates so that they communicate this to the sellers. Should the due diligence then not be successful your funds can be refunded without fanfare.

On the next article, we will take you through how to do your due diligence once you identify the property that you are interested in. 

To seek our legal guidance on your next land purchase or sale, email us at and our top lawyers will get back to you.